Action Alert: The plight of Norway’s small population of wild wolves rests in the hands of politicians 

Photograph by Kjell Erik. He took this picture while sitting in full camuflage during the deer hunt. This female wolf was killed two months later in defence of a hunting dog during the elkhunt in October.

Aga Zakoscielna and Marianne Mikalsen live and work in Norway and are both strong advocates of protecting Norway’s imperiled wolf.  I asked them to send me information on the plight of Norway’s wolf so we could educate and activate our readers. 

Norway and Sweden are sharing one wolf population that lives for the most part in Sweden (about 410 wolves in total), but has also settled in the eastern part of Norway along the Swedish border. The wolves were more or less extinct and there were no breeding couples in Norway during the 60’s-80’s. In 1973 the wolves were listed as critically endangered and have slowely made a comeback since then.

It is not the farmer nor the hunter that is the wolf’s worst enemy – it is the politician who gathers votes for his next election by changing laws on wildlife protection.

The population reached its highest peak in 2016 so in May the Norwegian Parliament set a limit of 4-6 litters per year, including the border packs with a factor of 0,5 per litter. For the purpose of conserving a viable population the politicians also set another criteria: 3 of the litters must be born in Norway, but this is regardless of wether they are born within the wolf zone or outside where they will be hunted down as soon as they are located. The wolf zone makes about 5% of Norway and its shrinkage is illustrated in this picture:

The report was published yesterday evening and allthough the figures are only preliminary they indicate that at this point in the counting/tracking period (which is from 1st October – 31st of March), we ONLY have 38 wolves living within Norway, + 38-43 wolves with territories across the Swedish Norwegian border. This makes a total of 76-83 individual wolves.

Think what would have happened if the Predator Committee had killed 24 of the wolves within the wolf zone.  We would have ended up with 14 wolves + border wolves. The goal of having 3 Norwegian litters would not have been achieved if the culling had taken Place.

The Predatory Committee wanted to cull 3 stabel reproducing packs that have done very little harm to farming animals.

 
I really hope that the politicians see the wolf pack dynamics more clearly now.
 

We are also awaiting the results from GPS marked packs, where the farmers and some of the people living in rural places, especially within two wolf territories, have claimed that the wolves have lost their fear of humans and have started to become more intrusive – this has so far not been supported by the GPS coordinates. The surveillance continues until 31st of March.
 
Since we now actually have fewer wolves than expected, and they are not showing any signs of intrusive behaviour, the Government will probably come up with wildlife law changes to satisfy the farmers eagernes to cull some of the wolves. Our Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen, will porbably come with a suggestion within 10th of March.

This is our contact information to learn more about helping wolves of Norway:

Aga and Marianne are coordinating a Ulvens Dag – The Wolf’s Day

Aga Zakoscielna 

Rasta, Norway

aga@ulvensdag.no 

mobile: +47 99 26 72 79

 

Marianne Mikalsen

Oslo,  Norway

marianne@ulvensdag.no

mobile: +47 99 22 60 80

Photography by Marianne Mikalsen


Please take action by contacting members of the Norwegian government. Here are the email addresses to some of the members of the Government:
 

The Prime Minister Erna Solberg – E-mail postmottak@smk.dep.no  
State Secretary Sigbør Aanes E-mail sa@smk.dep.no Phone +47 22 24 40 17
Minister of Finance Siv Jensen E-mail siv.jensen@fin.dep.no
State Secretary Jørgen Næsje E-mail Jorgen.Nasje@fin.dep.no Phone +47 22 24 41 14
 
 
Jan Tore Sanner, the Minister of Local Government and Modernisation
E-mail postmottak@kmd.dep.no Phone (+47) 22 24 68 00
State Secretary Grete Ellingsen E-mail grete.ellingsen@kmd.dep.no Phone: +47 22 24 68 24
 
 
Børge Brende, the Minister of Foreign Affairs
E-mail utenriksminister@mfa.no
State Secretary:E-mail elsbeth.sande.tronstad@mfa.no Phone +47 23 95 00 53

Børge Brende, the Minister of Foreign Affairs
E-mail utenriksminister@mfa.no
State Secretary:E-mail elsbeth.sande.tronstad@mfa.no Phone +47 23 95 00 53
 
 
Monica Mæland, the Ministry of Trade and Industry
E-mail postmottak@nfd.dep.no Phone +47 22 24 01 00
 
 
Vidar Helgesen, the minister of Climate and Environment
E-mail postmottak@kld.dep.no vidar.helgesen@kld.dep.no
State Secretary Lars Andreas Lunde E-mail postmottak@kld.dep.no Phone +47 22 24 57 02

Jon Georg Dale, the Minister of Agriculture and Food
E-mail postmottak@lmd.dep.no Phone 22 24 91 01
State Secretary Terje Halleland E-mail teha@lmd.dep.no Phone 22 24 91 09

It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad.

As with any cause, a biased or misleading view can be used to promote, to publicize a particular political cause or point of view.  Here we have several anti-wolf politicians making claims to distort the public’ veiw of wolves; wolves are decimating the White-tailed deer herds, attacking livestock and killing hunting dogs.  Let’s set the record straight; wolves do hunt White-tailed deer, have killed some some livestock and did kill 37 bear hunting dogs.  But in reality; is there a big-bad-wolf here? Let’s get the facts before we sanction the killing of an endangered species. 

There are currently two bills in congress that call to delist the wolf in four states, S. 164 (Senate) introduced on 01/17/2017 by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and H.R. 424 (House of Representatives) introduced on 01/10/2017 by Representative Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) 

In congress Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI) is proposing legislation to delist the wolf in Wisconsin and three other states. Two Wisconsin state legislators are pushing for delisting in order to return wolf management back to Wisconsin as well. Read on:

“A joint statement from state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and state Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, said, “The overpopulation of gray wolves on Wisconsin’s landscape is harming farmers, hunters and residents of rural Wisconsin.  Last August, the state Department of Natural Resources said a record number of hunting dogs had already been killed by wolves for the year. As of the close of Wisconsin’s bear season in October, at least 40 hunting dogs were confirmed killed by wolves, far exceeding the previous record of 23. Source

Let’s check the facts.

During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear. A few Wisconsin legislators claim these deaths were due to the high wolf population of 866 in 2016, but there’s a whole lot more to this story than meets the eye.  Adrian Wydeven, former Wisconsin DNR Head Wolf biologist, wrote in a opinion editorial, “Numbers don’t add up in wolf-hound debate” written on November 12, 2016 and suggested that:

“Do wolf numbers correlate with wolves killing hounds? The evidence suggests this might not necessarily be the case. In 2012, only seven dogs were killed and yet there were nearly as many wolves in 2012 as there were in 2016 (815 wolves in late winter 2012).” Source

What could be causing the high deaths of hunting hounds? 

It’s a mystery as to just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods during training & hunting. Why is this a mystery? Because a change in regulations took place that removed the Class B bear training & hunting licence. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. 

Wolves are defending their pups against free ranging hunting dogs in the pursuit of bear. 

Wolf pups are born around mid-April and are approximately two and a half months at the time Wisconsin bear hunters begin training dogs on bear starting on July first. Typically wolves leave their pups at a rendezvous site for safe keeping to be watched over by a babysitter. The pup’s family members keep a close eye on the rendezvous site while off hunting. WODCW blog

This conflict between bear hunters and wolves continues in the north woods of Wisconsin, and now has become one of the reasons Wisconsin legislators want to delist wolves.  One such Wisconsin legislator stated:

“We’re seeing depredations have almost doubled this year, and it’s not just hunting dogs, it’s people’s pets,” said State Senator Tom Tiffany. “They’re expanding throughout the state, we’re beginning to see it, it’s really a big problem.” Source 

There is -no-big-bad-wolf here to blame.  However, there is a lack of regulations with bear hunting & training and it has led to a conflict between wolves and bear hunters. Once the training & hunting class B license was removed, that change allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths. 

Are wolves decimating the White-Tailed deer herds in Wisconsin?

Wolves are not eating all the deer. All one needs to do is go to: News Release Wisconsin Natural Resources for Wisconsin’s annual nine-day gun deer hunt sees increase in statewide buck harvest posted on November 18, 2016:  The largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) after two consecutive mild winters and limited antlerless tags.
Wolves are not decimating the deer herds in Wisconsin. In fact, the Northern Forest Zone is home to Wisconsin’s wild wolf.  So there is no-big-bad-wolf killing all the fringe hunter’s deer. I use the term ‘fringe hunter’ only because real ethical hunters know that deer will hide from predators such as the wolf. 

Are wolves killing more livestock? 

Let’s take some statistics from The Wisconsin Gray Wolf Monitoring Report for the period of 15 APRIL 2015 THROUGH 14 APRIL 2016 and read the graphic for yourself. There were 52 wolf depredations on livestock. 

There were 52 wolf depredations from April 15, 2016 through April 15, 2016. To put it in perspective, that was 52 livestock deaths by wolves out of 3.50 million head of livestock in Wisconsin. Read for yourself:

“The total inventory of cattle and calves on January 1 rose 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, to 3.50 million head. The number of milk cows rose by 5,000 head to 1,275,000 head and the number of beef cows rose 25,000 head to 275,000 head. On the U.S. level, slaughter prices rose to $153.00 per cwt. for cattle and $255.00 per cwt. for calves. As a result, Wisconsin’s value of production rose 33 percent to $1.92 billion.”  Source: USDA Wisconsin statistics

In conclusion, It’s all carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad. When in reality the facts prove otherwise. Facts such as; a lack of bear hunting regulations caused the increase of wolf depredations on hunting dogs, the largest change in buck harvest occurred in the Northern Forest Zone (30 percent increase from 2015) and 52 livestock depredations out of 3.50 million head, proves; there’s no-big-bad-wolf here.

There’s only politicians with carefully crafted propaganda to make the wolf look bad.


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Please take action for wolves; click HERE

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Photographs used to make the graphics are by John E Marriott Wilderness Prints
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Opinion Editorial: Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that compensates hunters when wolves kill their animals…

A hunter gets up to $2,500 per dog — even when a hunter violates state rules or releases hounds in areas the state Department of Natural Resources has mapped as dangerous because of wolf activity...According to an Opinion Editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal Read on:

Stop payouts to bear hunters for dead dogs

Wisconsin State Journal editorial

Here’s an easy assignment for state lawmakers who oppose wasteful spending and who favor personal responsibility: Stop paying tens of thousands of dollars a year to irresponsible bear hunters whose hounds are killed by wolves.
Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that compensates hunters when wolves kill their animals. A hunter gets up to $2,500 per dog — even when a hunter violates state rules or releases hounds in areas the state Department of Natural Resources has mapped as dangerous because of wolf activity.
So far this year, a record 28 hunting dogs have been killed by wolves, the State Journal just reported. That could cost the public some $70,000 in unjustified payments. And bear season is just beginning.
Most of the dogs that have been killed were being trained for hunting on public land. Owners release their dogs to track and chase bears up trees, where the bears can be easily shot.
That’s not much of a challenge, which is why most hunters don’t use dogs to tree bears. Bear hunting with dogs is expensive and cruel to the animals that are hurt.
Wisconsin has more than doubled the number of bear hunting licenses it issues over the last decade. But only 10 percent to 15 percent of the bears taken from the woods were killed by hunters using dogs to tree them, according to the DNR.
That begs the question: Why does Wisconsin even allow bear hounding. Many states don’t.

State wildlife experts aren’t sure why more dogs are being killed this year. Wisconsin’s wolf population has grown, but not significantly in the areas where the dogs are being attacked.
Wisconsin has relaxed its hunting regulations. A license is no longer needed to train dogs in the summer, which is when wolves are raising their pups. That may cause wolf packs to be more aggressive about protecting their territory and young when they spot a hunting dog nearby.
Another factor is Wisconsin’s liberal law on baiting bears. While some states limit baiting to 30 days a year, Wisconsin permits the practice for about 145 days.
Besides killing hunting dogs, some wolves have attacked livestock. In total, about 58 domesticated animals (including the dogs) have been killed or injured by wolves this year, mostly in northern Wisconsin.
The state compensates farmers for lost livestock at market value. That seems fair, since farmers aren’t creating the conflict, and the cost is less than for dogs. The DNR, for example, reimbursed a farmer $800 for a calf last year.
Despite some difficulties, the return of the wolf to Wisconsin after near-extinction is welcome. The DNR counted nearly 900 wolves last winter. The wolves help control deer and other animals that damage crops, and they restore ecological balance to our forests.
The state shouldn’t pay hunters who lose hounds to wolves after disregarding rules and the DNR’s advice. The Legislature should stop the offensive payouts to a minority of bear hunters who don’t deserve compensation for risky behavior.

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Featured image John E Marriott Photography
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Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin is working to legislatively ban bear hounding in Wisconsin for more information and how you can help click HERE